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ISLAMABAD: The existing hardware and software infrastructure of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which was purchased under the Tax Administration and Reforms Project (TARP) project in 2011, has reached its end-of-life and is mostly obsolete.

According to the FBR’s new report on Pakistan Raises Revenue Project (PRRP), the FBR’s main IT systems — the Inland Revenue Information System (IRIS) for income tax, the STRIVE system for GST, and the WeBOC system for Customs — have automated some business processes, such as filing of tax returns and goods declarations (GDs). However, these systems do not share data and they lack important functionalities, such as tracking of tax arrears or a transit module (WeBOC).

The FBR therefore needs to develop the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and technical skills to integrate and analyze large amounts of data with adequate data security. ICT investments in simplified and automated business processes will generate efficiency gains by enabling a transition to paperless administration, real-time communications with FBR field offices, and more e-services for taxpayers.

The existing hardware and software infrastructure of the FBR, which was purchased under the TARP project completed in 2011 has reached its end-of-life and is mostly obsolete, putting FBR operations at significant risk and could result in risks of critical system failure and disruption of operations in case of the equipment damage, network failures, or any natural disaster. This equipment needs to be replaced with more sophisticated hardware and software to support an active-active virtual private cloud solution for the FBR’s datacenters.

There have been major changes in technology in recent years. Special emphasis has been laid on the security of Data, and in the current situation, the primary focus should be on improving the security of the systems and protection of taxpayer’s data. In such a situation FBR has to either continue the existing practices using obsolete technology or adopt a paper based old system of tax records or opt for new technologies ensuring effectiveness in terms of cost as well as productivity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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